Sunday, August 28, 2011

Searching for Anything to Prick My Heart

Recently my life has been in a valley. Now I’m not unfamiliar with highs and lows in the Christian life, for we all grow through stages in life (hopefully). We grow through the very act of faith stretching, yet nowhere in scripture does it tell us it will be easy. As a matter of fact, on the contrary, we are promised that challenges and tests to our faith will indeed come; yet He can and will sustain us, if we make the right decisions while in that valley. Could we call it the “valley of decision”? I think we could (Joel 3:14).

By right decisions, I’m not talking about something we decide, based upon logic (logismos Gk 2 Corinthians 10:5) or imaginary reasoning or reckoning of data compiled simply by experience or even book learning (an intelligent and informed choice); but decisions based solely upon His Spirit’s touch and leading (backed by scripture). Decisions that often move outside the realm of logic and reason; the kind that to human understanding makes no sense whatsoever, but to God they are right and true.

Several weeks ago, I came to the conclusion that God was trying to free me, yet it felt much to the opposite. And for that, I know there are numerous scriptural examples of such experiences, but while you’re going through it, you may find the difficulty level almost overwhelming.

For years I’ve “used” worship music, and devotional reading to set my frame of mind and mood as I entered into my own devotional time, or even to prepare me for ministry. I guess that’s not bad, and it’s probably far more common than I realize, but something happened in this most recent valley season of my life. I discovered that I was sandbagging my faith, with things that by all outward appearance would not be wrong (and often recommended) for the use of devotional time or encouragement; but I was using it in a way that actually diverted my attention away from my soul / sole provider.

Please understand what I’m saying. For many of you, those tools for “setting the mood” of your spirit so you can awaken to His ever present closeness are not wrong. At least as long as you don’t idolize the experience as a precursor to the Real Thing that you’re really seeking. That is: constant awareness (feeling) that He IS NEAR… and understands.

Granted, we are programed to “get into the mood” of church and preaching and worship by use of such godly tools, but what if and when those tools fail to elicit a “feeling” of His presence? What then?

For what I discovered was; I would play the songs, read the devotionals, and turn even to the scriptures that had once pricked my heart open – no longer did. Wow! What a revelation, what a terror, what a void, abandonment and abasement.

When the systems and tools no longer “work” to get us into the presence of God, then what?

What I discovered was this: He simply wants to be with me and me with Him; at least at this stage of my journey. For in all the things we use to remind us He is with us and loves us, there can be a trap. That trap is the functionality of “anything” other than His Spirit to affirm our place in Him and He with us. For most of us, we are so accustom to having things a certain way, that when change comes by compulsion or election we cringe or collapse at the thought of our little bubble being violated.

May I say, I didn’t ask to be where I am now in this “valley of decision” but I did ask, many years ago to know Him and to be with Him – above all other things. So what has His sovereignty allowed and provided for? Me to be in a valley where I will look to my left and right and see nothing but steep walls – and then I look up to the sky and cry out – Lord I need You and You alone.

And for that most recent cry and the honest request that is decades old – He is letting me find Him even as I am unsuccessfully Searching for Anything to Prick My Heart.

Thank You Jesus – You are always there – even “when the music fades”. May the deep awareness of Your strong and constant love, assurance and steadfast promises keep me in the valley of decision so I may never choose anything other than You to prick my heart. Psalm 51:10

Amen and Amen

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